The stag beetle has a predominantly south to south east distribution in the UK. It is locally common in the Thames valley, and surrounding areas as well as the Severn Valley and parts of the south-west coast. In Europe, it is found in central and southern parts.
The natural habitat of the stag beetle is broad-leaved woodland and pasture woodland, favouring oak. However, it can also be found in parks and gardens, particularly in urban areas where there is an abundance of dead wood.
The stag beetle is commonly seen in urban habitats at dusk, either walking along the ground (many are run over) or flying to light.